SMC³ supply chain education live session to examine cross border trade, LTL operations

Starting Oct. 22, SMC³’s exclusive fall version of its LTL operations course details the nuts and bolts of LTL operations alongside live presentations from industry experts.

As part of an exclusive one-time offer, register for the supply chain education class before the first day of class to receive a 25-percent discount off registration.

SMC³ recently spoke with one of those industry experts to get a preview of what students will learn from his seminar. Kiko Zuniga, executive director of the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America’s National Educational Institute, knows first hand about the importance of supply chain education. Part of his mandate is to make sure NCBFAA members stay abreast of constantly changing regulations for trade between Canada and Mexico.

During his live session for SMC³’s logistics education event, he will talk about the current state of cross-border trade, the impact of the pandemic, and what lies ahead. He recently sat down with us to explore those topics.

What are your experiences at the NCBFAA during the pandemic?  

We’re an essential business for trade, so the majority of our members are still actually working, almost as if the pandemic wasn’t around. We’ve had to alter a lot of our office environment for social distancing. I know some of our members are working remotely. But almost all of our members are still staffing their offices and getting the work done that needs to get done.

Trade has continued to be strong. There’s been a slight dip in the amount of trade, but it’s still pretty strong. Everyone is extremely busy.

How has trade ebbed and flowed during the past year?

At the very onset, we probably had a one- to two-month lag in feeling the effects on the pandemic on trade simply because production was en route. Probably two and a half months into the pandemic is when we saw a little bit of a slowdown from our normal clientele, but we did see an uptick in people trying to satisfy the demands for personal protection items. That came with its own set of challenges because as with any situation during these very demanding times, people were trying to take advantage, and not all goods were legitimate goods. We had to be even more careful with screening people that were coming to us for custom clearing merchandise.

Is trade doing well in both directions?

I think right now, both directions are faring pretty well. We did have a slight dip in the volumes; it’s really more business specific. Where we had some businesses slow down – automotive obviously had a slowdown – other businesses that were providing more essential goods – foodstuffs, things of that nature – were increasing. It kind of balanced out.

How do you think trade will change going into next year?

I think trade in general will be the same. As far as processing of trade, like every other industry, we’re embracing a more remote type of work environment. We see a lot more use of technology allowing us more flex time with our employees. None of us want a situation where we have an outbreak. While I see the trade continuing, I do see a lot of our members in the service industry adopting more remote processes for conducting their business. I think that it’s going to be for the foreseeable future.

A lot of the preparation work for the clearances of goods can be done remotely for us. So I think a lot of that part of our business is going to adopt this new norm. But the challenge is the actual physical clearance of goods at the border. We’ll need to be hands on in that process.

Will the election have an impact on trade?

As a general note, NCBFAA is pro trade and anytime there’s an election, we’re concerned with the dynamics of the administration and overall trade.

We’re always concerned with trade in general and the administration’s view of trade and will it stymie the movement of trade. We live in an era, I think, in general, in the United States of being dependent on a global economy. And so if there’s a view in the presidential race that we should isolate ourselves into a finite region and be more proactive in trying to block international trade, that would impact our clients substantially. But I haven’t really heard anything from either party that would substantially change trade moving forward.

Spend the first weeks of fall learning about the intricacies of LTL with SMC³. Sign up by October 22 for a 25-percent discount off the registration fee. Register for the exclusive supply chain education offering today!

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